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Published on July 4th, 2011 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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The Monolithic Dome: efficient, durable, disaster-resistant building


UPDATE: We’ve published part two of Aaron’s interview with the Monolithic Dome Institute.

Back in May, I got a chance to spend some time with fellow Important Media contributor Aaron Fown, who was coming through St. Louis as a part of his ongoing travels creating his Trip for Life video series. Aaron’s been driving around the US finding green inspiration and success stories, and documenting them on video… 40 episodes of the series are available on his Youtube channel.

One of the more recent installments focused on a building technique that was new to me: the Monolithic Dome. Sure, I know about Buckminster Fuller’sĀ geodesicĀ dome; this offshoot concept supposedly makes for easier construction while providing environmental benefits (such as insanely strong insulation qualities), along with the strength and durability of concrete. Among the places currently looking at using them: Joplin, Missouri.

Aaron traveled to Italy, Texas, and sat down with the Monolithic Dome Institute‘s CEO David South to discuss the building concept and its benefits (including some impressive tornado stories). You can check out the first part of The Trip for Life feature on the monolithic dome above.

What do you think? Impressive? A little too odd looking? Share your thoughts with us…

Image credit: Joe Tordiff at Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license

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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



4 Responses to The Monolithic Dome: efficient, durable, disaster-resistant building

  1. Joe says:

    Yes I have been looking at this style of bldg for a # of years, I participate in the monolithic dome forum with a topic of thin film solar. Emailed DR a # of years ago about this style of bldg whether members would consider it sustainable- some did – some did not,

    Ideas for dome: solar cells on outside surface esp the thin film stick on style or frames for solar panels, wind turbines all these providing energy combined with the most efficient eppliance that are available. Passive solar dome design with greenhouse. Basement of high strength to support dome- all basement and structure about 1200 round feet in size. Masonry fireplace in center of structure ( since done is such high energy efficiency this should be able to heat structure in winter)

    • Thanks for the input, Joe! I imagine some might question the sustainability because of the high energy input required for concrete production, but I’d guess that on a per-unit basis, this model works out pretty well since they last so long.

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  3. Pingback: Monolithic Dome Construction: Challenges and Opportunities – Sustainablog

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